Where I live, Fall is giving us a little teaser. The high temperature dropped about 30 degrees, a little storm brought some much needed rain, and I noticed the first of the the Fall leaves making an appearance.
This year, the autumnal equinox arrives this Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 6:04pm PDT. This is the “official” start of fall and marks that moment that the Sun crosses what is called the “celestial equator.” It is the time of equal days and equal nights, before the days begin getting shorter and the temperatures nudge toward freezing.
I love Fall. It may be my favorite season (although I’ve said that about Spring too). Nature begins to ready for her rest period, when the trees explode with one last burst of color – the vibrant reds, golds and oranges of the season – before dropping from the trees creating a soft blanket on the forest floor. The critters that inhabit these woods are busy storing up their stash to get them through the winter. Those that migrate are preparing for their journey to warmer climates. Everything begins to settle, to become more quiet, the perfect time to explore within.
This time of year is important in many cultures. For my own, it’s Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), among the most important of the Jewish Holidays. In other traditions, there is Dia de los Muertos, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Oktoberfest, Diwali and on and on.
As with any season, Fall is a time of transformation. It lends itself to self-reflection, of winding down and going inward as we prepare for the coming months. Just as in nature, it’s the perfect time to let go of certain patterns and behaviors that are no longing serving you, making room to receive the gifts that may come with the next season, and spending time with our inner world.
Fall is the end to many things while also representing the beginning. It is nature’s way of preparing for growth. For us, that means being open to new opportunities that may come our way. You cannot expect to begin a new season until the previous one has come to an end. That old dead weight that you carry with you only weighs you down. Taking time now, to mindfully prune your branches will give you the strength to birth any new seedling in the future.
What might all this look like to you? How about spending time with yourself, just you and your thoughts (and maybe a pen and paper), and ask yourself some questions that lead to exploration:
- What action can I take to honor my own cycles of beginning, middle and end? I use the word “allow” a lot. When you allow something in, you let go of the struggle. So just allowing the natural transition of beginning, middle and end honors your own cycles. That may mean taking time for yourself, trying something new you’ve always wanted to or even traveling to a new place. You get to decide.
- What burdens from the past year do you wish to cast off? That may mean material things, habits or thought patterns. Letting go of what is no longer serving you makes room for what does.
- What new habits can I adopt that will lead me towards better physical wellness? In the past few weeks, my back has been screaming at me. I’ve started some new habits (with the help of an app) that will help with that as well as my overall physical health. It’s not instant relief, but come spring …
- Am I contributing to my emotional wellness? Again, there’s no quick fix. Just like Fall makes way for a verdant Spring, that meditation practice you start now will reward you in the future.
Use this quiet time of Fall for self-reflection, letting go of that which you no longer need, making room for new growth and new adventures. You may never get the answers you want or even expected. Be open to what unfolds.